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LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn will join education trade unionists, campaigners, parents and children on a march through central London today to call on Chancellor Philip Hammond to increase funding to British schools.
National Education Union (NEU) joint general secretary Mary Bousted said Mr Hammond has “displayed his ignorance of the seriousness” of the funding crisis by offering £400 million for “little extras” in the Budget last month.
She said: “This was widely viewed by teachers, head teachers and support staff as an insult, at a time when schools are suffering a £2 billion shortfall in funding per year.
“It is perfectly clear to all but government the serious problems schools are facing.”
The march is demanding a reverse to school cuts, an increase in funding for High Needs and Early Years as well as the implementation and funding of the School Teachers' Review Body pay recommendations.
Labour's shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, who will be speaking at the rally along with the Labour leader, said the protest is “a clear sign of the desperate struggle” schools face under real-terms cuts.
She said: “It is time that ministers listened to the clear message from communities across the country that they have had enough of cuts to their schools. Philip Hammond’s ‘little extras’ just won’t cut it.
“The next Labour government will end the Tory cuts to schools, invest in a National Education Service for all children, and scrap the public sector pay cap for the whole of the public sector, including teachers and school support staff.”
Schools across the country, such as Stoke Newington School in north London, have called on parents and carers to support the demonstration by joining their bloc.
NEU executive member Gawain Little said the march was “massively important” to demonstrate the anger from parents, teachers, local councillors and everyone involved.
He told the Star: “We’re aware that right across the country, particularly in London, teachers are mobilising and inviting parents and councillors, which is fantastic.
“This money, taken from education, will impact the future of the children and therefore impact the future of our economy and ultimately our society.
“We are calling on anyone who cares about the future and rights of education to join us and put pressure on the government. If the government continues to refuse to listen to us, it’s our job to make sure that they do.”
National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Paul Whiteman called school funding a “cash crisis” that is not going away.
He said: “It’s still a doorstep issue for voters, and until the Treasury announces more money for education, school leaders, governors, parents and others will continue to make their voices heard.
“They’re tired of being told that there’s more money in education than ever before, when what they see with their own eyes every day proves that there is not enough money to cover the cost of education.
“Only new money from the Treasury will solve the school funding crisis.”
But Minister for School Standards Nick Gibb merely repeated government claims of improved standards in classrooms.
He said: "While there is more money going into our schools than ever before, we recognise the budgeting challenges schools face and that we are asking them to do more. That’s why we’re supporting schools and head teachers to make the most of every pound."
Demonstrators will assemble at Westminster Cathedral at 5.30pm and march to the Department for Education.
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